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Better than a lot of the sci-fi grind-house movies. Worth a watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
I thought this was decent movie of its genre -- better than a lot of the other ones I have seen. Considering what were probably budgetary constraints from being a kick-starter project, I think it was actually pretty good. While not on par with $100 million films, I would never have guessed its source of funding from watching the movie.
The story was not the most original, but it is pretty difficult to find one that is completely original anymore. Seven ships left Earth when there was a catastrophe. They went different directions via wormholes and are looking for a new home. We are introduced to a generation of young folks who have never experienced anything other than life on the ship in space. They are training under the direction of Capt Hunter (Kevin Sorbo) for the day when they find a new potential home.
A signal is detected and on the way to investigate, the scout ship with said young people and Capt Hunter is pretty much destroyed with the surviving passengers scattered all over the landscape. The heroine, Kate (Danielle Chuchran)then has to overcome a bunch of obstacles to survive. The rest of the story is mostly about how she deals with those obstacles. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I actually did like the ending (though it was somewhat predictable).
For the most part, I thought the acting was very good. The 2 main performers in the 1st half of the movie (Chuchran and Sorbo) did very well. Sorbo did spend a lot of time not moving around much, but Chuchran was pretty active and made up for it. Rocky Myers didn't actually show his face until probably about halfway through, but he did a good job too. The other actors were mostly supporting roles (I did want to smack the whiny guy a number of times -- if that was his goal, then he nailed it).
The special effects were a lot better than some of the ones I had seen on B-Movie sci-fi night (what my late wife and I called the cheap movies on the SyFy channel). Most of the movie had no special effects to speak of, mostly some reasonably decent monster makeup. However, when there were some FX scenes, they were generally done pretty well. Nobody will mistake the FX in this movie for a $200 million Marvel Comics movie, but it would be entirely unfair to try to compare it to one. I think they did pretty well with what they did.
The story wasn't incredibly original, some of it was very predictable for anyone who has seen similar movies, but the actual dialog was pretty good and (IMO) believable (as much as dialog can be in a sci-fi world). While not exceptionally deep, the characters were human and they came across that way.
Overall I'd give this a 7.5/10 (I rounded up to 8). It ain't going to win any Hugo awards, but it is actually better and more entertaining than some of the larger budget movies that have hit the big screen and certainly a lot better than the grind-house sci-fi that ends up on MST3K. It's worth a watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
Modern day sci-fi
The basic background is that humanity is at a crossroads. There is a set of moral dilemmas that are being faced. Mankind has made a number of technological breakthroughs, but is mankind mature enough to deal with the its new toys? There is moral decadence in a virtual world. There are religious fanatics who are willing to kill to get attention. I predict (based on the BSG background) that there will be an issue with Cylons and slavery. In addition to this, there are all the other problems that we humans bring upon ourselves.
This show is not BSG -- at least not as far as mankind being on the run from a ruthless problem that was ultimately of their own making. There are not a lot of shoot-em-up or space-based special effects either - at least not in the first few episodes I have seen so far.
What it does have are very good stories, characters, and themes. It also has good performances from the actors. They can make a culture which is similar to modern-day society, but alien at the same time be completely believable. Like BSG, this show is about humanity - our strengths, weaknesses, potential, and flaws. It may seem a little odd that a human society on a different set of worlds has neckties, antique cars, and chicken. But those things are really more to create a semi-familiar background than anything else. Anyone who gets stuck on those details is really missing the point. Whether you are from a mafia-style culture or an affluent and high-tech culture, humans and human nature aren't that different 150,000 years ago in a high-tech past than what we see in the world today. Wonder if the writers are trying to tell us something.
Outer Space Astronauts (2009)
Not bad for mindless comedy
This show is the Dumb and Dumber and dumber and dumber... of sci-fi space comedies.
The basic premise is that while the cream of he crop of humanity is out exploring the galaxy, the misfits, bums, and other losers of mankind just wander around for no apparent reason. These are their misadventures.
I've seen a couple of the episodes and they contain fairly solid mindless comedy. Some of the other reviewers compared it to "Tripping the Rift." I think I'd add some 3 Stooges, "Son of the Beach", "Office Space", "Space Balls", and the 70's series "Quark." If you are looking for high-brow comedy, look elsewhere. However, if you just want 30 minutes of silly humor from a show that obviously doesn't take itself the least bit seriously, this is worth checking out.
Flash Gordon (2007)
Hmmm... Seems 1 is as low as you can go on the voting....
I won't bother commenting on the plot holes that one could drive a truck through. Heck, a planet could orbit inside some of those holes. They have been covered in most of the other posts.
This show is BAD. The acting isn't the worst I've ever seen, but it is pretty close. To call it uninspired just doesn't seem to be strong enough a word. I think that most of these performers were either just needing something to do to alleviate their boredom or in such desperate need of money or attention that it was either this show or commercials for hemorrhoid medication (if the latter, then they made the wrong choice).
The budget for this show is pretty low. It must have been funded by a teenager paying for the writing, special effects, and most of the other costs by mowing lawns and washing cars. All other versions of Flash Gordon had poor Flash, Dale, and Zarkov stuck (as in trapped, unable to get home) on the alien world of Mongo -- a world with real aliens. This version has some type of space rift between worlds that is bad to use because using it too much could destroy everything. However, this mode of transportation is used more often than SUV's -- apparently, it must not be that bad for the environment after all. And the aliens appear to all be human with high-school drama class costumes and personality disorders. I can understand making all the "aliens" human, but they should have at least given them a little more thought -- actually, any thought would have been a little more than what they appear to have now.
Sci-Fi has had some excellent shows on in recent years (Battlestar Galactica, Dr Who, the Stargate shows, Eureka to name a few). they have also had some duds. I had been thinking that Painkiller Jane was the worst in the current lineup, but this one is certainly making a pretty good attempt to be at the bottom.
I've seen some of these actors in other shows and they are not bad. But this show was not the best career move for any of them.
The show does have one redeeming value. It helps me remember why MST3K was such a classic. Maybe Sci-Fi will bring it back to to rip apart some of its own movies and TV series. One can only hope.....
Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Excellent redesign of the original series
I was a fan of the original show and still think it was a good show for its time. It was during the Star Wars era of good vs. evil and most of the characters were pretty much either good or evil there were a few character flaws within the "good" characters, but they were not emphasized. Neither were the problems that a real fleet of refugee ships and passengers would face, such as "how do we handle this water problem?" It did, however offer a fair amount of action, humor, special effects (even the re-used ones), and interesting stories (even though several were obvious take-offs from big movies). It had all the things the average teenager (the target audience, I suspect) would want.
While I have only seen two episodes of the new series, I think it has great potential to be far better than the original for a deeper thinking and more mature audience (which I at least am now). I look forward to seeing the episode with Hatch as I think that could be an excellent recurring character. In fact, the character development in general is far deeper than the original series. In many ways the original series had very 2-dimentional characters where character flaws and internal conflicts (if shown at all) were minimized to the point of non-existence they were good heroes for kids, but unrealistic as real people. This version shows all the flaws and it both makes the characters more realistic and adds a lot to the story as we see how the characters have to deal with their problems both external (Cylons, logistics issues, etc) and internal (character flaws, personal differences, etc).
I really enjoyed the 2nd episode "Water" as it showed one of the issues a real refugee fleet would be facing. In this case it was how they dealt with the fact that some ships were not designed for long-range travel and could not renew their water supplies and also how fragile the work-around system was. I would like to see more of where those types of issues are addressed not to the point of making the show a (probably rather boring) documentary or tutorial on how to flee from a holocaust, but to answer some questions such as: How are they getting food, fuel, and other supplies? (they can't possibly have brought tons of rations with them) What are the short-range ships doing for crew rotation and maintenance? (they could cause delays if the ships keep breaking down with nobody to fix them) Are all the nearly 50,000 passengers just sitting around all day long warming bunks and getting bedsores? (there are lots of possibilities here former CEO's now having to do menial labor, disputes over who does what, training people to care for ship responsibilities and how the original officers respond, and dozens of other questions for which there is no room here). It is quite possible that some of the subjects above have already been answered somewhere in the first season (which has probably completed filming by the time this message was written), and I haven't seen the shows yet. Whether they are addressed or not, I look forward to seeing the rest of the series.
The stories (so far) are excellent. The acting is superb. The characters are realistic. The effects are awesome, but not overused. It's a very well balanced production. Personally, I hope that this series has 10+ seasons and that the network never pulls the plug on it. There are several other comments that rate this the best Sci-fi on television right now. I will not argue with them, however I also like the other shows (equally) that the Sci-fi channel has blocked with BSG and can tell you where I'll be every Friday night.